Piece Of Work
seems to be ignoring all advice in her role in
the hit musical Annie. Not only is she working
with animals, but with children, too. And, she
tells Steve Pratt, she's loving it.
think Su Pollard would know better than to share
the spotlight with a dog after her humiliating
experience on Opportunity Knocks.
she made her TV debut on the TV talent show, she
came second to a singing Jack Russell terrier.
the star of Hi-De-Hi is appearing with not one,
but two canine co-stars in a touring production
of the hit musical Annie.
only is she ignoring advice given to actors
against appearing with animals, but is also
treading the boards with a troupe of young
performers playing orphans.
admits that the memory of the OpKnocks mutt is
never far from her mind, but says that Danny -
who plays Sandy in the show - is "a
beautiful dog" and more than capable of
stealing scenes. "At one point, he gets the
stage to himself and has to walk from one side to
the other looking forlorn and sad," she
talks fondly too of the other four-legged
performer Sparky, who also has a key role in the
show. Both dogs belong to "the lovely
Rita". The canine co-stars are the same ones
that accompanied her on the first tour of Annie.
"They're well used to it. They're very
professional," she says.
who plays horrid orphanage head Miss Hannigan, is
equally complimentary about her young co-stars,
who are recruited locally at each venue.
do like kids. I've never really wanted any of my
own, but I like working with them," she
says. "They are really enthusiastic. Every
week we have different orphans. It's lovely to
see their little faces and they learn from you.
have this bible so every week we know exactly
what we have to tell the children, and it makes
it a little bit easier. You get some children
that are great actors, and another week ones that
are fantastic dancers. Either way, they are all
of course, they sell millions of tickets because
all their aunties and uncles come to see them.
Last week one of them brought 80 school
had no hesitation returning as Miss Hannigan
because she loved doing the tour the first time
round. The show's a feelgood one and that feeling
spreads among the cast and audience.
not gloom and doom," she says. "You can
see people stand up and go mad because they've
had a great night. I know it's a cliché but they
can share in that. Mothers and grannies aren't
frightened to bring their kids."
of the cast, which also includes Mark Wynter as
Daddy Warbucks and Louise English as Grace
Farrell, were in the tour with Pollard last time.
Halfway through the latest 12-week tour, she says
she could go on doing the show for another five
Billingham theatre's brochure refers to Pollard
as "the Forum's favourite" and she's
looking forward to returning to the venue. She
likes the intimacy of the theatre, the nice
dressing rooms and hopes I'll mention that she'd
like them to keep the bar open after the show.
always get a fabulous audience, and there's a
fabulous sandwich shop where I remember having a
great pork sandwich with stuffing."
Christmas she'll be back in pantomime, playing
the Wicked Queen in Snow White And the Seven
Dwarfs in Reading. What with that and Miss
Hannigan, she's clearly entering the nasty phase
of her career.
said to me, 'you've gone a bit evil, haven't
you?'," she says. "After nearly 30
years of being principal boy, it's time to do
something a little bit more mature. I love it
because I get to wear a fabulous, glamorous kind
of bejewelled head-dress and a beautiful
doesn't seem anything coming her way on TV to
equal the high spots of Hi-De-Hi and You Rang,
M'Lord. "I get asked to do TV but it's these
young researchers who want to put me in a cage
and cover me in gunk a la Tiswas," she says.
was offered a couple of things but they clashed
with the theatre dates. I'm just waiting for a